week one DFS Dont's

Week One DFS Dont’s: Quarterback

The hardest position to play in sports is surprisingly one of the easiest positions to pick in DFS. Sure, you could pay up for Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers and lock in 20 points. Or, you could go with cheaper options like a Philip Rivers or Jameis Winston and distribute that salary elsewhere. Let’s examine who you should leave off your lineup in our quarterback addition of week one DFS Dont’s.

Ben Roethlisberger: FanDuel Price $8,200

Yes, you’re about to read another piece about Ben Roethlisberger’s home/road splits. It’s real people, this trend dates all the way back to the 2014 season.

week one DFS Dont's: quarterback

As you can see, his regression has been incremental over time. Each year the dropoff gets more disparaging and therefore cannot be discounted. Now, do not take these stats as gospel. Roethlisberger could easily torch the Browns this weekend, but he won’t be doing it on my roster.

The large spread in favor of Pittsburgh is a great indicator of running back production. Meaning, if you choose to roster him, Roethlisberger may only produce for 2.5 or three quarters if they blow out the Browns. I don’t know about you, but I’m not playing the third-most expensive quarterback on the main slate who has a history of mediocre play on the road.

Apart from his road issues, Roethlisberger is perennially one of the highest injury risks at his position. He routinely misses games at this stage of his career. I’m not saying don’t ever play him on the road, but don’t play him at his current price. If you really want to pay up at quarterback, take Aaron Rodgers for $100 more, or, Russell Wilson for $200 less. Like most players, Roethlisberger’s price and circumstances land him on my week one DFS Dont’s.

Matt Stafford: Fandule Price $7,600

If you’ve been reading this series regularly, you know I hate the Lions this week. It’s more about their matchup than the individual player. I generally like Stafford. He plays on a team with no discernible run game and has above average receivers. However, the Arizona Cardinals defense is not one to take lightly.

week one DFS Dont's: quarterback

I don’t like to put too much stock in what a team or unit did last year. But, when that unit returns almost their entire starting unit, I do. Here’s what I don’t like, the Cardinals were incredibly stingy in yards allowed. Detroit uses their pass game to run the ball. Stafford throws short, precise passes as a substitute for a 3-yard run. Obviously, that will limit the amount of sack opportunities for this defense. Conversely, if they refuse to stretch the field, it won’t matter if they record sacks. They’ll simply make the Lions punt after three 3-yard passes.

Looking beyond Stafford, where do the Lions have an offensive advantage? Patrick Peterson vs. Marvin Jones, I’ll take Peterson. Tyrann Matheiu vs. Golden Tate in the slot, I’ll take Mathieu. Deone Buchanon vs. Eric Ebron, give me Buchanon. Maybe they have an edge with Theo Riddick out of the backfield, but, that means short precise passes. They won’t be able to stretch the field. Thus, Stafford joins Roethlisberger on my week one DFS Dont’s.

 

Like what you read? Tune into the Suck My DFS Podcast this Friday and find out who TGH fantasy experts will be playing in their DFS lineups this week. You can find the link to our podcast on the Podcast page.

 

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week 1 DFS Dont's

Week One DFS Dont’s: Running Backs

Last year, we experienced a resurgence at the running back position. Entering the 2016 season, the zero running back theory was a wildly popular draft strategy. However, after incredible performances by David Johnson,  Le’Veon Bell, LeSean McCoy and a great rookie campaign by Ezekiel Elliott, the position is now the focus of both seasonal and daily fantasy. Week one provides us with some interesting options at the running back position. But who among the top players will land on my week one DFS Dont’s list?

Ezekiel Elliott: FanDuel Price $8,700

week 1 DFS Dont's

Will Ezekiel Elliott take his offseason frustrations out on the New York Giants this Sunday? (Photo Courtesy of; Zimbio)

Now that we have word on Elliott’s status for Sunday’s game, we can talk about his DFS prospects. I’m incredibly torn on Elliott. The domestic violence case could hang over his head and cause him to abandon his patience against the Giants. Or, he could run wild against this vaunted defense.

Neither result would surprise me. However, I’m leaning towards Elliott under performing.

As I outlined in yesterday’s week one DFS Dont’s, the Giants are loaded on defense. There are multiple All-Pros in the defensive line and the secondary. The Cowboys offensive line is capable of overcoming this challenging front.

However, the Cowboys have lost a starting tackle and guard from last year’s unit. This wouldn’t normally concern me, but this will be the unit’s first time playing together extensively.

To be honest, there isn’t a lot of statistical proof for my assertion to fade Elliott this week. I’m operating totally on gut feeling and preference.

At his price, I’d rather have LeSean McCoy or Devonta Freeman for $200 and $400 less respectively. Both of those players also have a more favorable matchup than Elliott, and thus, puts Elliott on my week one DFS Dont’s.

Leonard Fournette: FanDuel Price $7,100

Leonard Fournette was one of the most exciting players in recent memory during his time at LSU. His rare combination of size, speed and athleticism has drawn comparisons to Adrian Peterson. Regardless of his incredible talent, Fournette will not score more than 12 points in week 1 against the Texans.

Like most players on my week one DFS Dont’s list, my concerns are with the situation surrounding the player, rather than the player himself. This Jaguars offensive line is not good. It’s that simple.

They have potential to develop into an average unit. However, the Jaguars just switched to a power run scheme this offseason. It takes time and opportunity for an offensive line to develop chemistry. The Jaguars will struggle initially adjusting to this new scheme. The sudden retirement of Branden Albert also forces Cam Robinson to start at left tackle, which is a big question mark.

Apart from Fournette’s offensive line, his own status is in question. He’s already developed a lingering foot injury that kept him out of three preseason games. The Jaguars want to use Fournette, but don’t want to destroy their first-round investment.

Expect Fournette to have a reduced workload in week one. He’ll be lucky to register 20 carries while sharing reps with Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon. His price is inflated beyond his value, so, he makes my week one DFS Dont’s list.

Marshawn Lynch: FanDuel Price $6,900

The Oakland Raiders have assembled one of the best offenses in the NFL. Acquiring Marshawn Lynch was one of the biggest stories of the offseason. Despite all the praise Lynch has been receiving, I’m gonna pass on him this week.

Some are operating under the notion that Lynch will be getting the same workload he saw in Seattle. That could not be further from the truth.

The Raiders are not going to change the way they operate their offense. Derek Carr proved last year he is a franchise quarterback and was given the contract to prove it. Weapons like Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and Jared Cook, along with an incredible offensive line, will cause the Raiders to rely on moving the ball through the air.

I almost forgot to mention this, but in case you didn’t know, Lynch took an entire year off from Football! You really expect him to pick up right where he left off in Seattle after a year on the couch consuming all the Skittles within 100 square miles? That might’ve been too much, but the idea that he will get 20-plus carries, 75 rushing yards and a touchdown this week is unrealistic.

Apart from his situation, I don’t like his price. I’d much rather pay up for a Todd Gurley or DeMarco Murray, or go $100 cheaper and roster Carlos Hyde.

I could see Lynch being a slam dunk later in the season. However, I want to see his snap rate and workload before investing. For these reasons, Marshawn Lynch is the final running back on my week one DFS Dont’s list.

 

Like what you read? Tune into the Suck My DFS Podcast this Friday and find out who TGH fantasy experts will be playing in their DFS lineups this week. You can find the link to our podcast on the Podcast page.

 

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week one DFS Dont's

Week One DFS Dont’s: Tight Ends

Now that the Kicker and Defense is out of the way, let’s start looking at real Football players. Tight end is one of the most volatile positions in NFL DFS. The drop off from top tier players like Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Reed and Travis Kelce to the next is dramatic. I look for value at this position. Specifically, I want players with medium/low salaries that can produce double digit points. Without further delay, let’s examine which tight ends are part of my week one DFS dont’s.

Eric Ebron – Fanduel Price $5,500

2016 could not have been more frustrating for season-long owners of Eric Ebron. Yet again, he failed to reach one thousand yards receiving. And, he had one more touchdown reception than I did last year. Not to mention, Ebron has a propensity for getting and staying injured.

On the other hand, there will be a plethora of red zone targets up for grabs with Anquan Boldin’s departure. I think he will no doubt have more than one touchdown this season and more than 711 yards receiving. However, his match up with the vaunted Cardinals secondary is a huge problem.

In 2016, the Cardinals secondary was elite against tight ends. Through their first eight games, the Cardinals never surrendered more than five catches and 53 yards receiving. Not to mention, they allowed zero receiving touchdowns to tight ends. They even pitched a complete game shutout against the Jets in week six. Meaning, they didn’t allow a single tight end to register a stat.

week one DFS Dont's

Will the Cardinals’ defense shut down Eric Ebron and justify his placement on my week one DFS Dont’s list?

I know Ebron is talented. I know he plays in an offense that throws the ball at least 30 times a game. But, I have no confidence that he will produce against this elite unit, or, that he’ll even be healthy enough to play the whole game. There are plenty more attractive options at tight end this week. Given his situation, Eric Ebron was the easiest member of my week one DFS Dont’s among any position.

OJ Howard – Fanduel Price $5,400

The hype around OJ Howard astounds me. Have we already forgotten that Cameron Brate, the Buccaneers starting tight end, tied for leading the NFL in receiving touchdowns among tight ends? Yes, I know that Hunter Henry, a backup rookie tight end, was who he tied with. However, this situation is different.

week one DFS Dont's

There’s no denying OJ Howard’s talent, but will the opportunities be there in week one for him to make a DFS impact? (Photo Courtesy of; Bucs Report)

Antonio Gates has clearly lost a step or two. This gave Henry the opportunity to get on the field and demand targets. Brate on the other hand is a young player at his position and has a tremendous red zone chemistry with Jameis Winston. I do believe at some point this year Howard overtakes Brate, but not the first week of the season.

Not only is Howard not the starting tight end, he would at best be the third receiving option if he was. Mike Evans led the NFL in targets last season and DeSean Jackson wasn’t brought in to be a decoy on half the snaps.

Apart from Howard’s current situation, rookie tight ends historically don’t start strong and rarely score 100 non-PPR points in a season. By non-PPR standards, the three best rookie seasons in NFL history by tight ends are Rob Gronkowski in 2010 (114 points), Cam Cleeland in 1998 (104 points), and Jeremy Shockey in 2002 (102 points).

Two of those three players will go to the Hall of Fame at their positions and for the record, only Cleeland, who I know you’ve never heard of before, scored double digit points in his rookie debut. If you want to compete in GPP’s or large tournaments, you’ll need your tight end to score double digit points.

If I haven’t made a strong enough case yet, this is sure to convince you. OJ Howard, the backup tight end, is $200 more expensive than the starter Cameron Brate! You are literally throwing away money for less production if you decide to roster OJ Howard. It only makes sense that Howard will go off now that I’ve taken such a strong stance, but the evidence suggests he belongs on my week one DFS Dont’s.

 

Like what you read? Tune into the Suck My DFS Podcast this Friday and find out who TGH fantasy experts will be playing in their DFS lineups this week. You can find the link to our podcast on the Podcast page.

 

You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and Esports articles written by other great TGH writers along with Braxton!

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The Best of Both Worlds – Play On DRAFT

No, this is not a promotional post. I wish I were getting paid to talk about DRAFT fantasy. I am taking the time out of my week to talk about one of the lesser-known Daily Fantasy sites because they deserve it. What makes them different or worthy of praise? Their specific focus on one DFS contest and seamless mobile app interface are just a few reasons why you should consider switching to DRAFT for your DFS fix.

The Snake Draft

The number one factor that differentiates DRAFT from its competitors is that they only offer one type of game. That’s right, DRAFT only offers a snake format for their DFS players. How is this different? For one, this format completely eliminates the salary cap concept. You no longer have to worry about sacrificing value at a given position because of a player’s price.

Another benefit of the snake format is low ownership. Since you are literally drafting players, no one else can roster a player you’ve chosen. Unlike salary cap leagues, players don’t have to worry about suffering from high ownership percentages.

In my opinion, the most appealing factor of a snake format is the fact that it’s a small, single entry contests. Players no longer have to worry about competing against people who can afford to create hundreds of rosters in large contests. Sure, there aren’t as many contests with upside like with FanDuel and DraftKings. However, there are still contests that yield as much as $540 or even $1,000.

A New Niche In DFS

DRAFT fantasy

DRAFT’s seamless app interface is one of the many reasons for this new DFS sites success. (Courtesy: upfront.com)

When I used to playing in season long leagues, the number one problem I faced was agreeing on a time to draft that worked for everyone. Then, if by some miracle we decided on a time, we would spend two to three hours selecting players.

What DRAFT has done is eliminate the multi-hour process usually needed to create a roster in season long leagues. Why? Because you don’t have to worry about rostering players on your bench. All you have to do is pick enough players for a starting lineup and that’s it. With DRAFT, you can now feel the exhilaration associated with season long league drafts each and every week. You can develop and hone your strategy until you have mastered the art of drafting.

With the emergence of this new DFS site, I wouldn’t be shocked if season long leagues on sites like ESPN or Yahoo turn into playing on DRAFT every week against your friends for 17 weeks. It’s truly the best of both worlds. You get to experience all the ups and downs of a season long draft every single week. You don’t have to worry about large player pools, or salary cap restrictions. Just be present at your leagues scheduled time and pick the best team you can.

Join me this weekend by signing up to play on DRAFT or by downloading their mobile app in the app store!

 

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FanDuel and DraftKings Merger

It’s official. FanDuel and DraftKings have reached a merger agreement. I can honestly say that there are some noteworthy positives and some troubling negatives to such a transaction. The DFS community has every right to be apprehensive. Why? Because, given that this agreement passes anti-trust regulations, one entity will control almost 100% of the DFS marketplace.

Conversely, this is not the sole reason for the colossal merger. The reality is that the DFS industry has come under fire by multiple state governments: New York, Illinois, and Texas chief among them. By combining efforts, FanDuel and DraftKings will significantly cut costs as it relates to legal fees. According to Forbes, FanDuel spent $8 million in legal fees in just Q4 of 2015. To be clear, they spent $8 million on legal fees in three months. For a company that only recorded $100 million in revenue for 2015, $8 million in one quarter alone is significant. The only question is, do the pros outweigh the cons?

The Good

If you’re like me, then you love playing Daily Fantasy Sports. Without a doubt they have made my Sunday’s infinitely more exciting, emotional, and sometimes agonizing. DFS companies like FanDuel and DraftKings have done the impossible, they make the average fan care about out of market, non-nationally televised games. They have no doubt played a pivotal role in the NFL’s ratings growth in the last five years, not including this year’s “slump”.

What these companies do is help these professional sports leagues attract the younger viewer that everyone seems to be fighting over. FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles told USA TODAY Sports, “This is the way to bring the younger consumer into watching sports.” He went on to note that their player profile information indicates that the average DFS player is in their early 20’s.

In order for us to engage in DFS, these companies must operate legally in our respective home states. While FanDuel and DraftKings are profitable, they could not continue to afford to fight these legal battles alone. It’s the old adage, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. FanDuel and DraftKings understood that the greatest threat to their survival is not each other, rather, a different entity entirely.

This joint venture allows for these companies to cut down on legal costs, become more profitable, and as a result, survive as a business. What the merger allows for is a united effort to fight for the DFS industry as a whole, not just in the interest of these two companies. Newer DFS companies like Roster.com and FanPicks.com do not have the resources to fight for the industry, so, FanDuel and DraftKings will have to, whether they like it or not.

The Bad

It’s quite clear, we have a potential monopoly in the DFS industry. If this agreement were to pass anti-trust laws, the combination of FanDuel and DraftKings would account for almost 100% of the DFS marketplace. The marketplace as a whole, according to the Wall Street Journal, is about 5 million people. Monopolies are never beneficial to the consumer, we lose our most important power, the power to choose.

What’s truly scary is that there is serious potential for this to become a legal, authorized monopoly. This joint venture does much more than cut costs for the respective companies. This agreement allows them to allocate more money to spend on lobbyists in problematic states. Empowering the right people to try and alter existing gambling laws to allow DFS entities operate free of legal fees is imperative to their survival. That sounds like a positive though right? If they can affect change then every DFS company benefits right? Not necessarily.

While in theory that logic is correct, the outcome is totally dependent on the language of the amended law. If somehow FanDuel and DraftKings could exclude other, smaller players from operating in a given state, then we as the consumer are going to suffer. This potential, keyword potential, exclusion would give the FanDuel and DraftKings complete control. Of course laws exist to prohibit this situation, but lawyers and lobbyists are paid to find loopholes and enact change for their clients.

The Uncertain

It is unclear what long-term effects this transaction will have on the industry for a few reasons. One, this merger does not become official for another calendar year. Two, we don’t know if this merger will change the mechanics of DFS themselves. Meaning, we have no way of knowing if player pricing or the money withdrawal system will change as a result.Third, we don’t have to keep playing. If the merger produces results we are unhappy with, then we can still choose to stop playing, even if we don’t want to.

As this story develops, we can get a good sense of how the result will turn out based some key players and what side of the line they stand on. First, pay attention to the commissioners of each major professional sports team. Listen to what they say, but more importantly, where they receive and spend money. FanDuel and DraftKings already have partnerships with the major sports leagues. It’s in each leagues best interest to do so because DFS has a positive impact on each league’s viewership. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is already on record endorsing DFS entities and even went as far as becoming an equity investor in FanDuel.

Second, look out for any media outlet that pays for the right to televise any of the major sports. Why? Because they benefit tremendously from all the advertising dollars FanDuel and DraftKings spend. It was reported by the Wall Street Journal that since FanDuel and DraftKings cut back on advertising, ESPN experienced a 13% decline in ad revenue. Outlets like CBS Sports, TNT, and ESPN will all want to continue to benefit from DFS advertising. In order to do that, these entities must survive.

Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about this impacting our ability to play DFS this week or this year. But, we could see drastic changes in the coming year to the DFS industry.

 

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